Man’s body lay in pub cellar for weeks

Eugene Ferguson
Eugene Ferguson
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A wanted man who died after falling into a derelict pub cellar could have been there for weeks before his body was discovered, an inquest heard.

Blackpool Coroner Alan Wilson was told 48-year-old Eugene Ferguson’s death was caused by a blunt trauma to the head after he had tried to get into the cellar of the disused Dinmore pub, on the Grange Park estate.

He was only discovered after an employee of the company which owns it went there to investigate the cause of an unusually high gas bill in November last year, five months after it had ceased trading.

A statement was read out to Blackpool Coroners’ Court, on behalf Mark Bernam-Thomas of AMS Ltd.

He said: “About halfway down the stairs to the cellar I noticed what I thought was a human shaped dummy at the bottom.

“I walked up to it and shouted just to make sure it wasn’t someone asleep.

“I tried to move it with my foot, it was immediately obvious it was a deceased human body.

“I literally ran straight out the building into the car park and called the police.”

The building had been secured by a coded lock since the pub’s closure and the court was told by Det Insp Kevin Simmons, who investigated the discovery, that Mr Ferguson could only have accessed the pub by climbing onto the roof and jumping through one of the holes which had been caused by a series of copper thefts.

Det Insp Simmons told the inquest the distance of the stairway from the main bar down to the cellar was around 20 feet.

Mr Ferguson, from Pleasant Street, North Shore, had been wanted by the police on recall for an offence at the time of his death.

Home Office pathologist Dr Alison Armour conducted the post-mortem examination.

A small amount of alcohol was found in Mr Ferguson’s system, along with traces

of cocaine, codeine, methadone and diazepam.

A statement read out on her behalf said: “The body was undergoing decomposition in keeping with a man being deceased a number of weeks prior to being found.”

Delivering a verdict of accidental death, Blackpool and Fylde coroner Mr Wilson said: “This gentleman was known to the police but there was nothing suspicious in terms of the circumstances surrounding his death.

“The Home Office pathologist Dr Armour says there is no evidence this gentleman was the victim of an assault.

“I consider whether there was any way in which this gentleman could have taken his own life.

“We know he was wanted by way of recall and he was found in some derelict premises, but I am not satisfied to the extent this could be seriously considered as a verdict.”

He added: “The Home Office pathologist indicated his injuries were consistent with those of someone who had fallen down stairs.”

Mr Ferguson, who was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, is survived by his daughter Rosie.